Q: Mr. President, do you think it's a proper use of government funds to pay commentators to promote your policies?
THE PRESIDENT: No.
Q: Are you going to order that--
THE PRESIDENT: Therefore, I will not pay you to--[laughter.]
Q: Fair enough. Are you ordering that there be an end to that practice?
THE PRESIDENT: Yes, I am. I expect my Cabinet Secretaries to make sure that that practice doesn't go forward. There needs to be independence. And Mr. Armstrong Williams admitted he made a mistake. And we didn't know about this in the White House, and there needs to be a nice, independent relationship between the White House and the press, the administration and the press. So, no, we shouldn't be going for it.
Did you catch that? Armstrong is the one who made the mistake. All by himself. Those people who work for the president who stuffed $240,000 of your money down Armstrong's pants? Well they didn't make him take it, now did they?
To be fair, a couple questions later, the president acknowledged that "the Department of Education," too, made a mistake. You know the old saying: The buck stops . . . over there. Somewhere.